January & February, 2024

The Big Four-Oh!

"Life begins at 40" is a popular adage, at least among desperate 39-year-olds. But while it is a dubious assertion for middle-agers-in-denial, it's right on the money for Daily Bread. We are truly just getting started.

We have accomplished much since our humble beginnings: starting with just a single shopping cart in 1984, we now serve around 800 families every week, distributing upwards of 30,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food to those in need. We stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting our operations almost overnight to meet the explosion in demand as safely as possible. And despite our tiny facility, we have managed to keep up with ever-rising numbers of guests seeking relief from the cost-of-living crisis.

But we are not about to rest on our bay leaves. We have plans! Big plans!! For the moment, these plans must remain Top Secret, so we have given them impenetrable code names. Project Move-To-A-Larger-Building has been in the works for what seems like forever, but it could happen this year! Then there is Operation Open-Longer-Hours, which will be a real treat for volunteers who can't get enough of the pantry.

Last, there is the Anniversary-Party-Project. And before you say "Ha! I think I've figured that one out," consider the hallmarks of good spycraft: obfuscation and misdirection. Don't get your hopes up, in other words.

What Comes Next?

Speaking of getting your hopes up, I've been thinking a lot about retirement recently. But before you get too excited, I'm not talking about MY "retirement."

It started with volunteer superstar Pete Jeffrey announcing he would "retire" from Pantry duties at the end of last year. Pete retired from his real job as an American Airlines pilot, erm, let's just say a while ago, and has spent a good amount of his time since then helping out at Daily Bread, among other worthy causes.

Anyways, because computers and phones know our every thought, the next time I was wasting time on YouTube, the algorithm gods recommended an obscure, hardly listened-to song by someone called Danielle Ate The Sandwich, which is possibly not her real name. You can listen to it if you want, but here are the lyrics:

The last coffee, The last tie

The color of the morning on the last drive

The last left turn, The last goodbye

The red stapler, in the cardboard box

The last break room cake and song

The last smile you weren’t sure of

The last memo, the last note

The gurgle of the water cooler’s throat

The last time you shut the door

The last small talk, the last step

The last nod to the security man

The last view of this sunset

And what's next?

Who could say

After I've written

This last day

The first morning, no alarm

Make the coffee with no tie on

What comes next?

it could be anything

I was moved to write this in the comments:

Danielle, I help run a food pantry in Danbury, CT. Among our 200+ active volunteers, retirees figure prominently. Without them, we could not serve the thousands of individuals who receive food from us every week. What comes next? It could be anything - but the time to give back to your community in retirement is a precious gift. I hope this lovely and poignant song leads others to think about what really matters, and how they wish to be remembered

If you've got this far, you may be wondering where I'm going with all this. Well, we need more volunteers, and recent retirees who have not yet filled up their dance cards with post-retirement activities are prime targets. If you know of such a person, hit 'em up! As a reminder, we have an application form on our website here.

Our Talented Volunteers

Check out this fantastic mosaic created by fruit and vegetable supremo Pattie Thompson. A true masterpiece, now proudly on display in the Pantry. Thank you Pattie!

Winter is Leaving!

Scenes like this are a familiar feature of our outside distributions during the winter months. This is the fourth winter guests and volunteers alike have braved the cold -- and with any luck, it might be the last. But in any event, we are getting there! The last distribution of February saw temperatures flirting with the mid-fifties, and while winter undoubtedly has not done with us yet, there is hope around the corner. A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered over the last couple of months. You are all amazing!

Lego Daily Bread

Do you miss the pantry when you are not volunteering? Of course you do! So you can now build your very own Lego Daily Bread model to display in your own home! Click on the picture for a demo. Among other things, it lights up at distribution times to make you feel guilty about not being at the pantry to help out. Price available on request. But, you know, if you have to ask...

Truck Unloading Fun

We currently are receiving upwards of 25,000 pounds of food from Connecticut Foodshare each week. That's a lot of gravity to move by the handful of elite volunteers who help unload the trucks. Here, Joe, Chip, Dan, and John blow off a little steam by beating the living daylights out of each other with stale bread (not part of the Connecticut Foodshare delivery, it should be noted).

Woohoo Wooster!

Students at Wooster School, through its Equity and Justice Center Student-Led Initiative/ Social Impact Program, organized a "Hoops For Hunger" food drive and fund-raiser for Daily Bread in conjunction with its varsity basketball game. Star player Jack Zahner (far right) led up the effort, with help from Olivia Peck (Equity and Inclusion Prefect) and Sabrina Serpa-Smith (Social Impact Prefect). Pictured here with Jack are fellow Social Impact participants Ava Aspen, Benjy Pastor, and Elliot Rosen. Our thanks to everyone involved, and everyone who contributed!

News Bites

Yes They Can!

Once again, the kids at Stadley Rough Elementary School proved you are never too young to think of others in need. With a little help from the school's PTO, their "We Can Project" collected a huge amount of cans and other non-perishabe items during a music-filled extravaganza to benefit Daily Bread. Way to go everyone!

Benefit Concert!

There could be a theme developing here. Yet another school, this time Green Farms Academy in Westport, is holding a benefit concert to support Daily Bread on March 2. The concert also honors GFA's Choir Director Betsy Bergeron, a loyal supporter of the pantry who is retiring soon (and might even volunteer for us with her new-found free time!).

More information about the concert is here.

We Have A Winner!

Well done to Mary Gonzalez for winning the first-ever Daily Breadle prize round. The prize? A Daily Breadle mug. The word? "Muggy." Here is Mary in one of the few mug shots you want to be featured in.

Missed out on the contest and too cheap to buy a mug from our Merch shop? The person to guess the word for February 29 in the least amount of tries wins. In the event of a tie, the first person to share the solution by sending to the email below wins (Breadle sharing works a little differently in desktop and mobile, but you will figure it out). Word Hint: the Registration Team may have an unfair advantage!

Healthy Food 'R' Us

Around 80% of the food we distribute at Daily Bread is fresh produce and healthy proteins. To make sure our guests know how to make the most of such goodness, Suny and Juliana from UConn's SNAP-Ed team came along to a recent distribution with lots of great nutrition advice. Thank you ladies!

203-826-8252 | [email protected] | dailybreadfoodpantry.com

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